Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


We are slowly recuperating from a 3 week visit by our daughter Catharine and grandsons Archie (10) and Max (7). This was a lovely, if exhausting, experience! The last time we had visitors on the boat, apart from overnight sleepovers, was when Catharine crewed from the Cook Islands to Fiji in 2002!

Forepeak before clearing
Before they arrived the forepeak (aka the Garden Shed) had to be cleared to free up the two bunks (also requiring foam for the cushions to be acquired - we had thoughtfully had covers made when we reupholstered the rest of the boat in 2009). Our folding bikes were given away in Trinidad, allowing sails to be stowed below the bunks.

Ready for first snorkel
We opted to be in Rodney Bay Marina for the first few days of the visit - allowing the boys to get used to living on a boat. This also allowed visits to Massy's supermarkets to obtain essentials such as suitable cereals and other items differing somewhat from our usual diets! It also enabled new snorkelling gear to be tried out in the small pool in the marina.

The first night at anchor was in the relatively protected anchorage by Pigeon Island, allowing a beach trip.

Sailing the Walker Bay
We tried a short trial venture to the north of St Lucia to check the conditions. As these were OK we checked out and headed for France - 25 miles away to the north. Ste Anne is a popular cruiser destination in Martinique, generally sheltered in normal trade winds conditions.

The boys enjoyed their first snorkeling on coral reefs, sailed in the Walker Bay dinghy, chilled out on the floating adventure playground and even sat through an OCC lunch.

Floating trampoline

Exploring the mangroves
The wind turned up an unseasonal strong westerly causing (as the OCC net put it) the geriatrics and those with children aboard to seek shelter in the hurricane hole behind the Club Med resort. Although we qualified on both counts we think we'd have gone there anyway! The boys enjoyed an dinghy trip around the mangrove-lined inlet.

At the fort on Pigeon Island
The next day, as the westerly was dying down, it was time to leave Martinique and head back to St Lucia, intending to get to the very sheltered Marigot Bay but ending up back at Pigeon Island, which was OK despite some residual westerly wave action. Catharine and the boys had time to explore Pigeon Island before we left for Marigot Bay in the morning.

Happy Hour!
Marigot Bay enabled happy hour by the pool - Archie enjoyed his "virgin colada", Max his "tropical punch" and the rest of us more fortifying cocktails. A problem with the alternator, requiring its replacement with the onboard spare, meant that we stayed an extra night with Catharine and Archie doing a strenuous hike and us all enjoying the Thursday night Pink Panther movie - not to mention another happy hour by or in the pool.

Beat that Donald Trump!
A mooring in the lagoon, at USD 30, is extremely good value as it gives access to all the resort facilities (today's room rate on booking.com - USD 488).

MY Ocean Paradise
The superyachts in Marigot Bay impressed the boys, Archie favoured the 53 m sailing yacht Drumbeat (winter charter rate in Caribbean EUR 175,000/ week) while Max liked the 55 m motor yacht Ocean Paradise (winter charter rate in Caribbean USD 300,000-340,000/week). The 42 m motor yacht Maverick  (apparently currently for sale for USD 4,350,000) was also favoured!

Helmsman Archie
Archie steered Sea Bunny to Anse Cochon, a short distance south, which provided the best snorkelling of the visit; probably why many of the dive and tour boats go there.

Pre-dive briefing

Geared up

In the water
Archie, at 10 years old, could do a PADI "discover SCUBA" resort dive. We had previously assessed that SCUBA St Lucia, operating out of the upmarket Anse Chastenet resort just north of Soufriere, was probably the best place for this. They appear to be a very professional outfit and their "house reef" is buoyed off to prevent boat traffic. Catharine (who had dived before when she was with us in 2002) and Archie both dived.

Is it a fish? - No, just Max
Susan took Max snorkelling on the same reef while the others were diving. By this time Max had become a very competent snorkeller.

Several of the tourist "attractions" of St Lucia are accessed from Soufriere, so it was back to Malgretout bay, between Soufriere town and the Pitons, for a few days.

Petit Piton from Tete de Paul
The nature walk to Tete de Paul, with its superb views of the Pitons,

At the sulphur springs
the "drive-in volcano" with its sulphur springs (Rotorua it ain't)

Diamond Falls
and the warm Diamond Falls were all done in a morning with Capt Bob (+1758 7263678) who had accosted us in the street and offered a reasonable (for Soufriere) rate.

A tour of the Morne Caboulet estate, offering an outline of cacao production, copra, sugercane and native plants was done by local bus from Soufriere, although we had to walk back as buses were not in evidence.

The anchorage between the Pitons was a bit of a disappointment - the resorts have taken over the bay and the snorkelling did not seem very special.

Jumping supervisor
Jumping and swimming off the boat was a popular pastime with Max, in particular, developing his confidence by the day.


All too soon it was time for Capt Bob to take us all to the airport to send our visitors back to a very chilly Edinburgh.